I’m in an awesome men’s Life Group (small group) that meets weekly on Thursdays. It’s one of the best things that I’ve done to become a better man of God. Part of the meeting is where we get to share something on our heart for 20 minutes. It’s affectionately called a Soap Box. In preparation, I though it would be best to write it out and then present it.
First of all, what are our priorities? In our Life Group, we have lined them up as 1) God, 2) Spouse, 3) Family, and then everything else will fall in line. I’m going to focus on the second priority of your spouse.
Part of what I ‘m going to present is something that I blogged about already... the study of your spouse – in my case, Ursulaology. I really cannot believe that I actually blogged on this topic nearly 4 years ago, but I feel that I need to get it back out there. Read that blog post… it’s a goodie!
For the last couple of weeks, we discussed the book by Gary Chapman called the Five Love Languages. This was a huge intro and lead in for my Soap Box. My Soap Box is all about
It goes without saying, my wife and I are definitely not perfect. We don’t have the perfect marriage. You can just ask my kids to find out. We have a lot of work to do continue toward having an awesome marriage.
Borrowing from the Five Love Language Soap Box, one of the Five Love Languages was Quality Time. Have you ever been to a restaurant and paid attention to the people around you? You will find four types of people around you.
- Singles, who will keep to themselves and occupy themselves
- Families, who have their children with them.
- Dating couples who look at each other and talk, giving each other their full attention.
- Married couples who sit there and gaze around the restaurant. You would think the married couples just went to the restaurant to eat!
When our family went out for lunch together on Father’s Day, I noticed this in action, but with a twist. I saw a young couple and they were both on the iPhones not even paying attention to the person in front of them. It used to be that couples would just sit there not saying anything, but now they busy themselves with social media or other real life relationship zappers.
When you date your wife and take her to dinner, use those 30 to 60 minutes of time to give each other your undivided attention and talk this love language. This one can be hard for guys to speak to their wives if they feel the need to provide everything for their family.
I urge anyone that just sits there and stares in space or finds themselves playing Words with Friends or on Facebook when out to dinner with their spouse, to invest in a book. The book is called We’re Finally Alone – Now What Do We Do? by Gary Johnson. No, you don’t have to be empty nesters to enjoy this book. “We’re Finally Alone” is referring to the time at the restaurant or the quiet time that you have reserved for your spouse.
The book is geared to spark conversations that are meaningful and will enrich your marriage and family. Is it a novel, a self help book, with real world examples to shape up your life? No and no. It’s a book with 575 questions that are meant for couples to think about themselves, their families, and their relationship with Christ. No, they’re not all deep & heavy, beat down questions. :) They are actually split up into 5 different levels.
- Fun ice breaking questions
- Time to get a little personal
- Self revealing, but nothing too tough
- Time to get a bit uncomfortable
- Very intimate questions to the point of revealing things about your spouse that you didn’t know
Another way that you can use the book is by topic. The book has an index of topics that are split up by the following:
- Dreams and Wishes
- Family and Parenting
- Getting Honest
- Getting to Know You
- Helping Each Other Grow
- Personal Opinions
- Remember and Reminisce
- Sex and Romance
- Spiritual Life
- Troubles and Struggles
- Working on Marriage
A key to this book is open and honest communications. Each person must be ready to listen and to be heard.
You might ask, why in the world would I want to buy a book with just a list of questions. I truly believe that this book can evoke thoughts and conversations that need to be discussed. There is so much growth that can be realized by the use of this book.
I feel so strong about this book that I gave it to each member of my life group.
Will this book and the conversations that come from it be totally natural? No, not at all. I believe wholeheartedly that you must totally rely on His power and not ours. It’s so much easier to talk about the weather than about real issues. When it comes down to it, when we act on our own, we will take the easy route, the non-confrontational, the now-growing conversations. This is especially true after a long day and we just want to slow life down. However, when we do this, I think we miss the priorities that we lined up in the second paragraph: 1) God, 2) Spouse, 3) Family. We’re giving too much to everything else and not to God and our spouse.
A great friend of mine is pushing me to get out of my comfort zone. To grow like I’ve never grown before. This book is one of those things that I need to do with my wife to encourage growth. I truly hope that you look into getting this book. You can find a used copy for about $4 or a new copy on Amazon.com for $12.